Continental Freedom – Wish I Had It

Franz Barta, a Hungarian emigre who settled in Dunedin, New Zealand is the first photographer I ever became consciously aware of. Several of his prints hung on my grandmother’s walls. It was a long time ago now that I first became aware of them as the work of an actual individual person (I can just barely touch on the memory of the conversation that did it), but I was probably somewhere between the ages of five and ten. Of course, before that I knew vaugely that somehow people made photographs. It’s just that I had never really appreciated that real individuals created them, as works with intention.

It’s very hard to find information about Franz Barta, but I did come across this delightful passage, which quotes his contemporary Morris Kershaw referring to his style: “…the “Continental freedom” of his colleague Franz Barta, a photographer known for his very relaxed style, that seemed to “catch people out” before the camera.”

So, it was my great privilege this week when I had the opportunity to photograph his great granddaughter, Stella.